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Sasol Experiences Explosion and Fire in New LDPE Unit

January 15, 2020

2 Min Read
Sasol Experiences Explosion and Fire in New LDPE Unit
An explosion and fire were reported Monday at a Sasol chemical plant in Louisiana. Image courtesy of Pixabay

A fire and explosion were reported Monday afternoon at the Sasol Lake Charles Chemicals Project (LCCP) low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plant in Lake Charles, LA, the company said in an announcement.

The blast occurred at about 1:15 p.m. as staff at the site work working to startup the new asset, Kim Cusimano, manager of government and public affairs for Sasol’s North American operations, told NBC affiliate KPLC. 

“The new LDPE unit had not yet achieved beneficial operation (BO) as planned for in December 2019. The unit was in the final stages of commissioning and startup when the incident occurred,” Sasol said in a statement shared on the Westlake Police Department’s Facebook page. “The unit has been shut down and an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the incident, the extent of the damage, and resulting impact on the LDPE unit’s BO schedule.”

Other production assets at the LCCP site, including an ethane cracker and ethylene glycol/ethylene oxide and linear low-density polyethylene units, were not impacted by the blast and fire and are still in operation, according to the company. Coverage by S&P Global said the LDPE unit has a planned capacity of 420,000 mt/yr. 

The fire was extinguished, and no injuries were reported during the incident.

Two workers were injured at Sasol’s Lake Charles East facility in October 2019 after a fire started in an alcohol unit at the site. 

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